The UN torture prevention body announces upcoming visits in 2023

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

The United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) has announced plans to visit Georgia, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Mauritius, the Philippines and South Africa in 2023, in addition to previously announced missions to Croatia, Madagascar and the State of Palestine for next year.

The Subcommittee also intended to visit Nicaragua in 2023 but regretted the State party’s lack of cooperation.

“It is deeply regrettable that Nicaragua refused to cooperate with the subcommittee to undertake our second visit to the country to assess the implementation of recommendations made after our first visit eight years ago,” said Suzanne Jabbour, Chair of the Subcommittee.

Nicaragua ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) in 2009, thus agreeing to establish an independent National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) and to support the SPT’s monitoring of detention facilities. The Subcommittee visited Nicaragua for the first time in 2014 and submitted a report with recommendations to the authorities, which the State party has kept confidential.

The subcommittee has made more than 80 visits in its 15 years of operation, and this is the first time we have had such a blanket refusal to cooperate. Jabbour added, given that states parties have a legal obligation to receive any delegation from the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, we have raised this serious matter with the Committee Against Torture under appropriate procedure.

The subcommittee, which has visited Australia, Ecuador and Turkey in recent months, will complete its 2022 program by monitoring places of deprivation of liberty and examining measures to prevent torture in Bosnia and Herzegovina in December.

The Subcommittee also, during its last confidential session, engaged Australia to obtain assurances essential to enable it to resume its suspended visit. “We hope that we will be able to complete the task once we receive all the necessary guarantees from the State party,” Jabbour said.

“On the other hand, we are pleased that Bulgaria announces the report of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture on its 2021 visit,” the committee chairman added, which contributes positively to the prevention of torture and ill-treatment in the country and shows the transparency of the measures to be taken. implemented and monitored.

In addition, the SPT decided to add the State of Palestine, which ratified the Optional Protocol in 2017, to the list of states parties that are long overdue in establishing their national preventive mechanisms and are therefore not in compliance with Article 17 of the Optional Protocol.

Other states parties included in the “Article 17 list” are Belize, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Nauru, Nigeria, the Philippines and South Sudan.

Under the Optional Protocol, states are obligated to establish national preventive mechanisms within one year of ratification. To date, more than 70 States Parties have established NPMs out of the 91 that have ratified the Optional Protocol.

During its session, the Subcommittee also met with several States parties, national preventive mechanisms and civil society organizations and finalized the first draft of its legal guidance, formally known as the General Comment, on the definition of places of deprivation of liberty, which will be released to the public for consultation in early 2023.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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